Swedish Economy in shape in spite of plunging stocks
The Swedish economy is in excellent shape in spite of the nervous stock market. The Stockholm Stock Exchange opened last Friday morning on a continued low after the historical Thursday nosedive (it closed at -6.18% - the 9th worst day in the history of the OMXS index). Friday the index climbed to -1.7%. The worst decline was seen in the manufacturing sectors, IT, and finance. The major Swedish banks took a big hit, especially Swedbank, which fell by as much as 9%. Anders Borg, Minister of Finance, also takes a more pessimistic outlook on the Swedish economy compared to what he did only a few weeks ago. “Hopefully it won’t be as bad as in 2008, but the risk that it will be worse than I have expected has increased,” he said. He added that the Swedish readiness to face these problems is good, but that even so households will be affected. The Swedish public finances are, however, in excellent shape.

Heavenly Father…
Do you believe in God? Maybe you believe in something else? Or perhaps you’re just a little curious? In times of turmoil and trouble we sometimes feel the need to pray. Svenska Kyrkan (Church of Sweden) has a wonderful website where you can send your prayers, no matter what they’re about. It’s a notion most certainly inspired by the Bible passage “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). The more we are who pray, the mightier our prayer become. How it works? You go to the website, you post your prayer, and then your prayer will be sent anonymously to one of the Church of Sweden’s churches. You can decide where in the country your prayer is sent. If you wish, your prayer can also appear on the website, so that it can be shared with others. You can post your prayer in Swedish or in English. http://svenskakyrkan.se/be/?lang=eng

Sif Ruud dies
One of Sweden’s most loved and active actresses has passed away. Sif Ruud was 95 years old. Her career spanned 66 years, and she was described by Ingmar Bergman as “a pillar of shiny steel” (when he gave her Dramaten’s – the Royal Dramatic Theater – O’Neill Prize in 1964). In 1965, she played Madam Flod in “Hemsöborna”. Her portrayal of the middle-aged woman who longs for love, went straight into the hearts of the TV-audience. “It was no easy role,” explains Ingrid Dahlberg, who was Director of Dramaten during Sif Ruud’s last years there. “But she made her believable. Ruud was genuine, but she was also a hard working actress.” It was at Dramaten that Ruud became the pillar of steel Bergman talked about, both as an actress but also as a teacher. Among her students in the 1960’s were Lena Nyman, Marie Göranzon, and Irene Lindh. Jonas Gardell, the Swedish novelist and comedian, calls her “a wise lady with many layers, mysterious”. “The balance between the simple and the mysterious was what made her so exciting to work with,” he says. Ruud received a Guldbagge for her role in Gardell’s film “Pensionat Oskar”.